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LOOKING THROUGH A TELESCOPE AT THE MOON ON THE DAY NEIL ARMSTRONG DIED
by Raena Shirali

we locate apollo’s landing site on a map that shows
there are two sides to everything
& one is always dark, maria,

unfathomable ocean. the dome above is cracked

we locate apollo’s landing site on a map that shows
there are two sides to everything
& one is always dark, maria,

unfathomable ocean. the dome above is cracked
& only a sliver of seven-o-clock sky peeks
down. how dizzying: these fickle attempts

to track my lover’s swells, swift black shifts
like a night sky peeling. we are determined
to find armstrong’s footing—

all expectation & no satisfaction; all wax,
no wane. & yes, we drift in cycles
i don’t keep track of anymore.

on the wooden viewing platform,
the cincinnati observatory employee tells me
the moon in this lens is reversed,

so i see east where i should see waning curve.
even if things were right-side-up,
our wrongs don’t follow laws,

or adhere to astronomy. in the end,
nothing negates, & what is bright is too much here.
i cannot find the grounding crater.

the selenic overwhelms
& i clutch the eyepiece, a teetering drunk
unsteady even with my heels off, my lover

smiling up at me from the ground.
did you find apollo? he asks
& i think, o, what a tease you are,

moon: a contradiction, a lie of light
& dark. your surface reeking of gunpowder,
your tendency to decompose liquid.

 

Listen to Raena Shirali’s reading of “looking through a telescope…” below…

 

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About Raena Shirali

Raena Shirali
Raena Shirali is originally from Charleston, SC. She now lives in Columbus, OH, and is earning her MFA in poetry at The Ohio State University. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Fogged Clarity and Pleiades. She recently won the 2013 "Discovery"/Boston Review Poetry Contest.